Author Topic: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy  (Read 1659 times)

ctuser1

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Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« on: March 19, 2020, 08:47:01 AM »
It seems we have grocery shortage where I live.

I am in charge of keeping the basic grocery staples supplied at home. Milk, eggs, salad, chicken/fish (we rarely, if ever, eat meat) in our house.

I made two fruitless trips in the last two days - and never got things I needed.

Do you have any practical mustachian tips/tricks for grocery shortage? Substitutions? Pattern of stocking shelves by grocery chains? etc. etc.

My thoughts are as follows:

Milk: I'll grab some sort of powdered milk this weekend to use in case of shortage.
Eggs: I'll make a trip to the wholesale clubs (BJ's, Costco, Sams - in this order, yes I happen to have membership at all three right now) and pick up packaged egg whites and the like. They last weeks in the fridge.

I have the following chains nearby:
Aldi, Shoprite, Stop and Shop, Big Y

Any ideas/suggestions if there is any pattern when supply may be plentiful so that I can appropriately structure my grocery runs? My usually routine of making a weekend run to grab everything does not seem to be adequate any more in a shortage economy.

I'm interested in hearing what you are doing.

OtherJen

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2020, 09:30:18 AM »
Do you have any independently owned stores/ethnic grocers? Those are being ignored somewhat in favor of the big chains and warehouse clubs. Our local produce market had pretty much all of the fruits and vegetables that I wanted (they were only out of russet potatoes and some varieties of apples), as well as milk and brown eggs.

If I were you, I would try to go right when the store opens and not on a weekend. Kroger is one of the big chains here, and my dad was able to get what he needed at 7 am yesterday (right when the store opened). No word on BJ's or Costco as I haven't been to either in a couple of weeks.

former player

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #2 on: March 19, 2020, 09:35:58 AM »
At some point demand will go down because 1) people are staying at home more and 2) they will feel they have enough on hand.  At some point after demand starts going down restocking will then start to catch up with and overtake demand.  After all, there are not suddenly more people to feed, there is just a current movement of stock from store to private homes.  It's like the bulge of a mouse moving through a snake.

Until the cross-over point is reached I think the need is to get creative with what we have on hand - it's time to investigate the oddments at the back of the store cupboard and experiment with new recipes.  There may need to be a higher proportion of boring but filling - rice, potatoes, and so on - as against the fresh and interesting.  Puddings and cakes help a lot in those circumstances and can often be made from what is already on hand.

The other option is to see whether you have any connections with food suppliers that you can leverage.  Since my village shop had an inrush of people they had never seen before they started to keep stuff in the stockroom for their regulars.  Or somewhere in your social capital you may know someone who has a vegetable garden.  Or if spring is coming where you are it might be time to start off a few seeds - even having fresh herbs in a window box helps things along.

Khaetra

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #3 on: March 19, 2020, 09:38:32 AM »
If I were you, I would try to go right when the store opens and not on a weekend. Kroger is one of the big chains here, and my dad was able to get what he needed at 7 am yesterday (right when the store opened). No word on BJ's or Costco as I haven't been to either in a couple of weeks.

Check the hours first though...there have been many stores not only adjusting their hours but also opening early to only those of a certain age and older on certain days.

I second checking the smaller grocer options.  It's worth a shot.

rulesofacquisition

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #4 on: March 19, 2020, 10:13:18 AM »
The panic buying does seem to settle down after awhile. It started in my sister's area a week before my area, and they are pretty well restocked but we aren't yet. I lucked out and bought a lot when she told me what was going on. Our local organic place wasn't as picked over, but you'll probably have to eat stuff you usually don't for a bit if you weren't well stocked. You'll make out OK, I have allergies to multiple foods and would't be hungry even if I had to shop today.


OtherJen

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #5 on: March 19, 2020, 10:17:28 AM »
If I were you, I would try to go right when the store opens and not on a weekend. Kroger is one of the big chains here, and my dad was able to get what he needed at 7 am yesterday (right when the store opened). No word on BJ's or Costco as I haven't been to either in a couple of weeks.

Check the hours first though...there have been many stores not only adjusting their hours but also opening early to only those of a certain age and older on certain days.

I second checking the smaller grocer options.  It's worth a shot.

Yes, thank you! Definitely check hours. Even the 24-hour stores in my area are closing overnight to allow restocking and cleaning, and a few have posted "seniors only" hours.

starbuck

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #6 on: March 19, 2020, 10:46:33 AM »
I went to Costco yesterday, and while there were purchase limits (typically 1 per customer per day) there were plenty of eggs and dairy available. No TP of course. Same for Big Y on Monday.

I'm sure every store everywhere is trying to restock ASAP rather than stick to their normal schedule so it's probably impossible to predict right now.

Personally, I would just wait it out a bit, there's plenty of food out there so no need to stockpile. If you're really hurting for eggs, look for a local farm stand, or local chicken owner. I see some advertise on FB marketplace and through our town's FB group or NextDoor. Or if you're really itching to bake some cookies just ask a friend or neighbor for what you need. We're all in this together.

My approach to grocery shopping now is essentially if our normal household staples are available, I'll buy them (in regular quantities) and if not, I'll buy things I only buy on occasion. For instance, both Big Y and Costco around here were sold out of all fresh chicken and cheaper cuts of red meat (like ground beef.) But at both places there were plenty of choices for fresh and frozen seafood, so that's what I bought. Shrimp and grits, fresh salmon, yum! Sure it's more expensive but whatever, it's still a meal me and my family will enjoy. I've seen plenty of vegetables at both stores too so maybe look into some vegetarian or vegan recipes that sound appealing and put those on the meal plan.

Halfsees

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #7 on: March 19, 2020, 10:50:51 AM »
I've done one shop so far and picked a large store near the route where most trucks enter our region. I also went close to when they opened at 6 am. I was able to find most of what I wanted although I did accidentally buy $7 peanut butter because I stopped looking at prices. There were no frozen vegetables although I did find half of what I wanted fresh.

I also found the right brands of  bottled water  for a friend whose sister has a chronic condition and only drinks certain brands. I personally think it's ridiculous to drink primarily bottled water, but I don't suffer from a chronic condition and now is the time to do whatever makes you feel secure and my friend cried when she found out I had 3 cases for her. She also was able to return to the same store and buy more whereas she couldn't get it in the stores in her more heavily populated area further from the main route into our region.

MaybeBabyMustache

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #8 on: March 19, 2020, 11:45:39 AM »
We've cut way back on what we've put on the list, both because we bought a bit more than normal last week, and want to minimize risk in going out. We're getting reasonably creative with menu plans & options, using more of what we have vs just buying new things and will leverage a more expensive online delivery service for the things we've deemed higher priority.

For us, it's a good thing in its current phase. If it goes on much longer, we will really miss fresh vegetables. We can move to frozen fruit, but the veggie option is harder for some replacements. My husband only eats fresh (not cooked veggies), so he'd need to adjust his eating quite a bit. We'd be fine.

formerlydivorcedmom

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #9 on: March 20, 2020, 01:16:34 PM »
I decided it was okay to spend a little more for certain things.

While our grocery store has a line of people waiting to get in all the time ... CVS has milk and no line.  It's just twice as expensive.  A local donut store here has even started ordering extra gallons of milk and offered to sell it to customers at their price ($4).

ctuser1

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #10 on: March 20, 2020, 02:50:49 PM »
I found milk and eggs in the Big Y nearby. It was a bit more expensive than my $1.30/Gallon milk and $0.88/dozen eggs at the Aldis (which has run out), but regular price for Big Y.

Next, I need stock up for for a rumored lockdown in CT from Monday. As of now - I am only hearing this from facebook chatter, and no reputable news sources of anything - but who knows? I don't plan on taking too many chances.

BikeFanatic

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #11 on: March 20, 2020, 03:10:59 PM »
Quote
I decided it was okay to spend a little more for certain things.

Same here. I went 3 times before the panic 2 weeks ago, thought I had enough for the month, but no, we needed to go today and I said I dont care whats on sale lets go to the remotest place and shop there.

Good news one of the local big hospitals developed there own in lab test to test for Corona, That should relieve the burden of classifying all respiratory patents as potential Covid, now they can rule it ot and test the workers as well.

moneypitfeeder

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Re: Grocery shopping in the shortage economy
« Reply #12 on: March 20, 2020, 05:47:11 PM »
Since you don't frequently eat meat in your house already, for a milk substitute I'd recommend soy or almond milk. It sounds like you have already made dietary changes, and you might find that you like the change. For a "noob" to alternative milk (seriously, no disrespect) I'd recommend the Silk brand, as they are fairly palatable to someone trying plant "milk." If you do try any, the plain, unsweetened, works best with cooking, but if your main use is for cereal, etc., then the sweetened, or vanilla may be good options. For cooking only (if I don't use homemade) I use WestSoy plain, as it doesn't have any fillers that affect recipes, but I prefer Silk if I want it for cereal or straight drinking.